The concept of 'fine art' is a confusing one. There is much debate about what constitutes 'fine art' in the first place, let alone how Majority World photographers can sell work in that category. This page looks to gallerist Cheryl Rumbak for advice on entering this market.
How do I enter this market?
There is a lot more to entering the fine art market than taking a great shot and hoping to sell it for a high price. These are a few of the questions you could begin by asking yourself:
- Do I have something to say, whether politically, socially or historically?
- Have I made selections from my work in which the group of images together mean even more than the individual images?
- Am I familiar with what other photographers are doing and saying?
- Where do I fit into the history of art as well as the scope of modern photography?
- Are aspects of my own life story of relevance to the wider world?
Cheryl Rumbak owns the Kalk Bay Modern gallery, based in Cape Town, South Africa, which showcases both fine art and more commercial work by a range of African artists, including many photographers. She explains the growth process in which you start answering some of these questions, and she lists what you need to do before approaching a gallery.
Figure 2: The fine art market is not one that can be rushed into. Cheryl Rumbak discusses some of the issues you need to think about first, and gives advice on your next steps.
Case study of an emerging fine art photographer: Nikki Rixon
Young South African photographer Nikki Rixon is successfully bridging the divide between between being a successful commercial photographer and developing a respected body of fine art.
Figure: Gallerist Cheryl Rumbak discusses the practical steps Nikki Rixon has taken to ensure her success.